General manager William Bottiggi is eager to explain why the Braintree Electric Light Department (BELD) is teaming up with the town to install a solar array at the closed landfill next to the Covanta transfer station on Ivory Street.
"This will continue to increase our renewable energy portfolio," he said of the project, which has been in the works for two years. "In addition, we currently have wind energy and hydro power in Maine along with a landfill gas project in Massachusetts totaling more than 10 percent of our power supply."
Construction on the array, to be made up of 4,142 solar panels with the capacity to produce 1.26 megawatts of electricity, is expected to begin in October and go into production by the end of December.
"Ivory Street Solar, LLC, is a cooperative project that will add environmentally friendly value to our landfill," Braintree Municipal Light Board Chairman Thomas Reynolds stated.
Over the course of a year, according to Bottiggi, the solar array is anticipated to generate approximately 1.65 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, providing enough power to more than 200 homes.
"As a municipality, we’re taking a positive step." Mayor Joseph Sullivan said.
Framingham-based Ameresco, described by Bottiggi as a leading supplier of solar power solutions for public enterprises, will assess, permit, engineer, construct and operate the photovoltaic (PV) system manufactured by Canadian Solar.
Ameresco has installed three other PV systems on landfills in Acton, Lowell and Sudbury, Bottiggi said.
The array will serve as a stand-alone power-generation site, offsetting the amount of utility power sourced by BELD through net metering, according to Bottiggi.
The installation will include an educational kiosk featuring displays of real-time and historical data from the system.
"The landfill is a highly visible site," Sullivan said. "This project will light the way for us as we venture into the world of solar energy, which is a viable option. We envision the possibility of a walking trail at the landfill so people can see firsthand what’s taking place."
On the South Shore, Marshfield, Rockland and Scituate already have solar power arrays on their landfills. and Hingham and Pembroke are planning similar projects.